Thomas Brideson, Karen Burns (Chair), Maria Cassaniti, Sue Cripps, John Feneley (NSW Mental Health Commissioner), Paula Hanlon, Tim Heffernan, Cathy Kezelman (apologies provided for first portion of meeting), Jenni Campbell, Brian Pezzutti, Vince Ponzio, Yvonne Quadros, Russell Roberts, Erica Roy 

Murray Bleach, Christopher Maylea, and Diana McKay

Scarlette Acevedo (Mental Health Commission of NSW)

Darryl O’Donnell (Executive Director, Mental Health Commission of NSW), Sarah Hanson (Executive Officer, Mental Health Commission of NSW), Kerri Lawrence (Manager, Strategy and Policy, Mental Health Commission of NSW), Steve Candiloro (Manager, Communications and Stakeholder Relations, Mental Health Commission of NSW), Elizabeth Story (Senior Communications Advisor, Mental Health Commission of NSW), Alanna Hector (Senior Advisor, Mental Health Commission of NSW)

1. Acknowledgements

Thomas Brideson provided an Acknowledgement of Country. Tim Heffernan provided an Acknowledgement of People with Lived Experience of Mental Illness. 

2. Welcome

Karen Burns and John Feneley welcomed attendees.

3. Strategic Plan

John Feneley discussed the Government’s adoption and first steps toward implementation of Living Well: A Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW. Council members discussed the challenges that exist within the sector in this stage of reform, including:

  • Varying understanding of the Commission’s role
  • Uncertainty in the community sector regarding future roles and funding
  • Attracting  clinicians to community based organisations
  • Differences of views regarding the directions of the Strategic Plan by some groups
  • Need for targeted communication related to the Strategic Plan to hard to reach groups. 

4. Wellbeing Collaborative

Kerri Lawrence, Manager, Strategy and Policy, presented to Council members on the establishment of the NSW Wellbeing Collaborative working group. The working group was established in April 2014 with members from NSW Kids and Families, Health, Education, Aboriginal Affairs, Hunter Institute of Mental Health, Sydney Business School, University of Wollongong, Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, Treasury, ACON, Mental Health Association, Queensland Mental Health Commission and the Public Service Commission.

The proposed Collaborative is aligned to a number of actions in the Strategic Plan.  

The draft Terms of Reference for the NSW Wellbeing Collaborative include the following aims:

  • Promote awareness across government and the community that wellbeing is ‘everybody’s business’
  • Provide leadership across government and the community for the promotion of wellbeing

Among other activities, the working group has been exploring the use of Mental Wellbeing Impact Assessments (MWIAs) through three demonstration sites. With the assistance of Maudsley International, MWIAs have been conducted on projects from Education and Communities, Family and Community Services, and ACON.

Council Members acknowledged the value and benefits of MWIA methodology in government and non-government agencies.

5. Suicide prevention activities

Alanna Hector, Senior Advisor, Strategy and Policy, presented to Council members on the latest suicide prevention activities undertaken by the Commission. Communities Matter, a suicide prevention toolkit was launched by the then Minister for Mental Health in 2013. Hay and Walgett were selected as pilot towns to implement the toolkit, which was very well supported by the community. The toolkit will now be developed into a web-resource and further strategic communication needs to be developed in order to disseminate it widely to the population.

The toolkit is also being tailored for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Council Members acknowledged that the toolkit also needs to be tailored to specific groups within the population, such as culturally and linguistically diverse communities; people with mental health and with drug and alcohol issues; and LGBTI communities.

6. Community meetings across NSW

The Communications and Stakeholder Relations team advised Council members that the Commission will undertake a series of visits to communities in metropolitan and regional areas, including some of the communities that were originally consulted in the development of the Strategic Plan.

The aim of the site visits is to acknowledge the valuable feedback provided by these communities, advise them on the Commission’s changing role, and begin a discussion about reform needs.

ACTION 2015.01 Commission’s Communications and Stakeholder Relations team to develop discipline specific communication strategies to disseminate the key messages of the Strategic Plan. 

7. Issues and gaps in childhool trauma in adults

Cathy Kezelman presented to Council members on how trauma and abuse impact on the wellbeing, mental health and health status of children, adolescents and adults. Dr Kezelman noted that trauma and abuse affect longevity, relationships, work capacity and the ability to build resilience. Trauma is linked to mental health problems and suicide.

Council members acknowledged that there is a lack of mental health training related to trauma for clinicians in non-mental health settings and that consumers’ lived experience can assist in addressing this gap.

8. Uncertainty in the sector and the Strategic Plan

Karen Burns led a discussion regarding how current issues experienced by the community-managed sector pose a challenge and risk in implementing the Strategic Plan. Some of the issues identified by Council members were:

  • Uncertainty due to the introduction of National Disability and Insurance Scheme, Partnerships for Health, and Activity Based Funding
  • The quality of relationships and collaboration between Local Health Districts, community-managed organisations and Medicare Locals
  • Discharge planning and follow up from hospitals
  • Understanding of expected KPI performance and reporting
  • Attracting clinicians to the community-managed sector
  • The availability of relevant services for the Aboriginal, culturally and linguistically diverse, and rural and remote communities.

The elements of the Strategic Plan related to the community-managed sector were discussed. 

Council members acknowledged that community-managed organisations required support around approaches to service improvement, securing a funding base, upskilling their workforce and in contract management. 

9. Commission's role post adoption of Strategic Plan

John Feneley led a discussion on the Commission’s priorities following the delivery of the Strategic Plan. The Commission’s priorities are to support reform and monitor and report on implementation of the Plan.

The Commission is engaging in a series of discussions and planning sessions in order to refine the future vision for the work the Commission.

ACTION 2015.02 Commission to highlight a few case studies from community based organisations on their initial steps toward reform. 

10. Action log

Council members noted the Action Log.

11. Other business

Next meeting: 15 May 2015

ACTION 2015.03: Commission to circulate meeting presentations in advance to allow Council members to prepare to contribute. 

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Last updated: 3 June 2017